Monday, June 30, 2008

Movie Marathon Part 3 - The Bottom of the Barrel


How many weeks into the summer season does it take Hollywood to crap out? Four baby. Count 'em, FOUR.


Enter: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (or, as I like to call is: Indiana Jones and the "Jar Jar could have made this piece of shit better").


Exit: Filmmaking


Okay, so, let's recap here (Spoilers ahead for any of you without the common sense who still want to see this movie):


George Lucas. Made a few decent movies (THX, American Grafitti) and then made the holy grail of geekdom: Star Wars: A New Hope. This movie was great. He, wisely so, got "too busy" to write and direct the next two - which was a good thing. He hired writers who knew how to write tight scripts withe real characters and directors who knew how to work with actors. The result - on the of the best trilogies of all time (so good, in fact, many an overweight or gawky skinny men have foregone their chance at sex for).


Then, now that's he's hopped up on ego and Endor (oh ho! good geek joke), he thinks he's God among filmmakers. It doesn't help that he helps helm the Indiana Jones trilogy - which, while it is no Star Wars, is good in its own respects.


So, let's go back to the eighties - and what do you do to follow them up? Willow and Howard the Duck. Body shiver. A disturbing Val Kilmer Midget-fest (I present that George Lucas, while a talent-less and confused young man, fell into a drainage canal and was saved by a midget. Owing his life to the pint-sized rescuer, he vowed to incorporate midgets into EVERYTHING HE DOES from that point on) and a movie about a midget duck from outerspace that talks.


Do you see what I'm getting at? Everyone gives it to him that everyone is hit or miss.


So he decides to retire to Marin County and build his empire (see: smoke some weed) of toys, games, memorabilia, effects houses (ILM), sound stages (Skywalker Sound), etc. Things go well. So well, in fact, that his delusions of grandeur return and he decides that "The technology is finally to a place that I can revisit the Star Wars trilogy." Which is his first mistake - thinking the effects in Star Wars is what made the movie great.


No, no, no...


The first sign of his decent into madness (read: CGI) is his remastering of the original movies. What did Return of the Jedi always need? An unnecessary music video with badly animated, annoying slugs. Of course! That's what my Id was crying out for all those years! How could I have been so blind.


Greedo shooting first, aside (another nerd reference - zing!), it was still cool for a new generation of under-sexed unwashed masses to see the films on the big screen.


Enter the new trilogy. Oh, could I rant. From Mannequin Skywalker to Hayden "Whining with a edge to my voice means emotion) Christenson to ruining great actors like Ewan "If I could have shown my penis this would have been better" Gregor and Natalie "We should have hired Jean Reno for this" Portman - I could never end.


Suffice to say - we all realized that lightning only strikes ONCE.


But, we all paid to see these. So, Lucas begins to think that he's not only the master of filmmaking (all though he's the only Oscar-less filmmaker out there among his graduating class), but a master of revitalizing old franchises.


Cue the John Williams soundtrack.


Enter Harrison Ford.


Cue the flying monkeys...? WTF?


Okay, Indy Jones starts out bad, tries to stabilize, and quickly deteriorates into crap. The first scene, in an obviously bad green-screened warehouse sets the stage. Quickly, Indy finds himself in an entirely unnecessary nuclear testing site where the only way to save himself is to shut himself inside a lead refrigerator - which proceeds to be blown about 1400 feet across the desert. Good thing our hero can shake it off.


Then we're all over the world without a definition of why or why we care. Pretty soon we're running through a CGI jungle with Shia LeBeouf swinging from vines with monkeys - and beating cars. Giant fake ants eat people - we get to meet plexi-glass aliens (I know, I know, wtf, scream it with me, people) that can melt minds and setup a civilization thousands of years ago that we're supposed to care about (with no motivation to whatsoever).


Then it's all gone in a flash of (again) OVER-USED special effects.


Oh man, it's bad. Even Harrison Ford looks disinterested. The characters make no sense. The story doesn't either. Not grounded in any simile of reality. The script is a total mess. I just felt insulted by the time it ended.


It's always a good gauge of when a movie has stretched its believability to the max when my wife rolls her head to me and gives me the "Are you serious?" stare. The whole last hour of this movie - she never even looked back at me.


This was a textbook entry on over-blown summer movies - there mere definition of why we don't see crap like this.


A resounding D+.

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